Byers Postgraduate Scholarships
Student-athletes honored for overall excellence in academics
By WILLIAM F. REED
The demands on today's student-athlete are so enormous that educators
and coaches marvel that so many find
the time, and the discipline, necessary to
achieve success both on the field, or the
court, and in the classroom.
During his more than three decades as
executive director of the NCAA, Walter
Byers always was interested in ways to reward the student-athletes who achieved as
much, if not more, in their studies as in
their sports. He always understood that this
type of individual is the essence of college
sports, even more than the big-name stars
who break the records and get most of the
It is fitting, then, that basketball player
Rick Hall of Ball State University, in Mun-
cie, Indiana, and shot-putter Regina Cava-
naugh, of Rice University in Houston, Texas, are the first winners of the Walter Byers
Postgraduate Scholarship Awards.
The $7,500 scholarships were established
early in 1988 in honor of Byers' efforts on
behalf of both athletics and academics. To
be eligible for the awards, which annually
will go to one male and one female, student-athletes must have at least a 3.5 grade-
point average, show evidence of superior
character and leadership, and demonstrate
that participation in athletics has exerted a
positive influence on personal and intellectual development.
Understandably, the competition for the
awards was as intense as anything the athletes ever experienced in their particular
sports. From initial groups of 42 male applicants and 48 females, the scholarship
committee narrowed the choices to three finalists and an alternate in each.
The 6-8 Hall, now a first-year law student
at Northwestern University, was the captain
and only senior on the Ball State team that
last season posted a 29-3 record, won both
the Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament titles, and upset the
University of Pittsburgh in the first round of
the NCAA championship.
A starter as a junior, Hall was relegated
to reserve duty last season because of the
influx of new, young talent. Still, he provid-
Regina Cavanaugh, a shot-putter from Rice University, and Rick Hall, a basketball player from
Ball State University, were selected as the first Byers Postgraduate Scholarship recipients.
ed excellent leadership by example, working hard and selflessly in basketball while
maintaining a 3.944 grade-point average
(out of a 4.0) in a double-major of accounting and political science.
Hall also was involved in the East Central
Indiana Big Brother/Big Sister program,
made appearances at various charity events
for children, and served as a summer intern
in 1988 on the staff of U.S. Senator Richard
"He is truly a student-athlete who represents the basic purpose of the NCAA in
maintaining intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the education program and the
athlete as an integral part of the university,"
said Dr. John E. Reno, Ball State's faculty
athletics representative to the NCAA.
The same could be said for Cavanaugh,
the most honored female student-athlete in
The finest shot putter in Southwest Conference history, Cavanaugh was a nine-time
NCAA all-America from 1983 through
1987. She won six NCAA championships in
the shot put — three indoors and three outdoors — and she still holds the NCAA records with a throw of 57-11 3U indoors and
57-6 lh outdoors.
In addition, Cavanaugh holds the Rice
school record of 58-1, and was undefeated in
12 conference meets. Among her honors are
the 1987 Honda Broderick Award for track
and field, Rice's most outstanding female
athlete in 1986, and three awards as Rice's
most valuable female track performer.
Internationally, she twice competed for
United States' teams in the World University Games, was an alternate for the 1984
U.S. Olympic team, and delayed her entry
into medical school so she could train for
the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Yet despite all the time required to train,
travel, and compete, Cavanaugh still managed to maintain a 3.5 grade-point average
in human physiology, in addition to serving
as coordinator for Rice's NCAA Volunteer
for Youth program, participating as a
Childlife volunteer with a Houston-area
hospital, and speaking to such organizations
as the Special Olympics and the American
Like Hall, she is using her scholarship in
graduate school. She is a first-year medical
student at the University of Texas Health
Science Center in Houston.
In selecting Hall and Cavanaugh as the
first Byers Scholarship recipients, the committee set high standards. Yet it also reaffirmed the high ideals and goals to which
the NCAA and so many of its student-athletes aspire. A